Come on. Admit it. It feels really good to hear or read that customers or clients LOVE your business. They love the products. They love the services. They simply can’t get enough of your brand. They are your online ambassadors, telling others about your awesome company.
It feels really good. Right?
What if you could encourage more of your customers or clients to become raving fans of your business?
Think of the myriad ways having more brand ambassadors could impact your company:
BOOSTS COMPANY SPIRIT
(and if it’s already good, then it will help maintain it)
SPREADS THE WORD ORGANICALLY
on social media about your business to those who have never heard or interacted with your brand
OFFERS A POSITIVE PERSPECTIVE
when someone on social media posts a negative
or uninformed view of your company, products
CREATES SOCIAL PROOF
for those who want to try your products or services but haven’t fully decided
FOSTERS A SENSE OF LOYALTY TO YOUR BRAND
which makes your work more fulfilling
And, surprisingly, encouraging more of your customers or clients to become loyal ambassadors of your brand can be achieved by employing one or, preferably, more of these suggestions:
We all love to hear the words “thank you” whenever we’ve gone out of our way to help someone or simply doing a task we’ve always done. It feels great to be acknowledged. It feels even more amazing when that “thank you” is unexpected.
Your customers or clients are no different. An unexpected “thank you” from your company can do wonders.
The key here is that it’s unexpected. When a thank you is anticipated, it doesn’t hold much impact. However, an unexpected thank you can really turn someone from a customer or client who likes your business to one who LOVES your business.
Depending on the type of business you have, you may be able to really go out of your way to thank your customers or clients. When my business was primarily consulting clients, I sent out an email to my clients after working together for 3 months. It simply had a bright, colorful image that said “thank you” and then a few words telling them how much I appreciated working with them. This small email had such an impact.
I’ve had my clients tell me that they were having a bad day or a frustrating moment and that email came at just the right time and helped to shift their perspective. Others just liked the little boost it gave them.
Best part? Every single one of my clients responded with a reply to that email. Sometimes with a paragraph telling me what they appreciated about working with me and occasionally it was a simple “thank you” in return. (Whenever we spoke on our next call, those who did write just write “thanks” always mentioned something about how they appreciated the gesture.)
The point is, this unexpected email had a BIG impact on the feelings my clients had toward my brand. They felt appreciated. And they showed this appreciation by referring my services to others; by positively commenting on their social media profiles about my brand; and by taking the time to advocate on my brand’s behalf when someone had a negative or misinformed comment on my Facebook ads.
All of this support from my clients came, in part, from a simple, unexpected “thank you” email.
Now if I was reading this article, I might think this means becoming like the companies that collect “big data”, learning practically everything there is about their customers. I don’t mean like that. I mean learn more about them in a way that allows you to better serve them. Thereby, making them feel like you care about their challenges and frustrations.
Let me explain – you know the difference between a surface level question and one that genuinely seeks to know more about you. For example, the clerk in the grocery store ringing up your purchases might ask “How are you?”. This is just a polite formality that many people use without thought. Does the clerk really want to know how you are? No. They probably didn’t even realize they asked. This is a prime example of a surface level question.
Take that same question and have a close family member ask the same three words – “How are you?”. Given the relationship you have, this same question becomes a genuine, seeking question. They really do want to know how you are (and likely what’s going on in your life too).
There is a prevailing belief in many industries that customers or clients are some non-human entities with whom we aren’t supposed to engage at a deep level. I disagree. Customers or clients who become raving fans of your business HAVE a deep connection to your brand; they buy nearly everything you produce; they read every email, post and listen to your podcasts and watch your videos; their social media profiles reference your brand; they defend your company against those who don’t understand your products or services; and it truly and deeply matters to them what your business does – in small and large ways.
These people WANT to be involved with your business. And, you can let them be more than just as a customer or client. They can help shape how you serve them and prospective customers and clients even better.
I’m talking about a genuine, deep connection with your customers or clients. And, how you ask, is this accomplished? By simply engaging in a dialogue with them that encourages them to open up and share more about who they are and their challenges and frustrations.
You might recognize what I’m proposing as a survey. Technically, it is. Yet how it’s used in this situation is more like a conversation when you first meet someone and are getting to know them – you ask questions and, based on their answers, ask a few more.
The simplest way to start this conversation is by letting your customers or clients know that you value them and that your business is looking for better ways to help them with challenges or frustrations they might be experiencing.
Then, ask this question: What is your single biggest challenge or frustration when it comes to X? Depending on your industry, products and services and your goals around getting to know your customers or clients better, “X” will be unique to your business. For example, when I was consulting on Facebook ads, I would ask my clients, “What is your single biggest challenge or frustration when it comes to running Facebook ads?”.
Before you create this question, you will want to know the goal of asking this question as it relates to your business —
Is it to develop a new product or service?
Is it to evaluate a current product or service?
Is it to probe and see if there is interest in a new market?
This will help you better determine what “X” will be in the question you ask.
Once you start receiving answers, you can analyze them for trends. And – here’s the part that starts winning you raving fans – you let ALL your customers or clients know the results. Yup. Send them an email that lets them know they’ve been heard. Just generalize the data and send them an email back. You can let them know percentages, most frequent response, responses that were really unique or offered a new perspective. The point is that what you send back should be something your customers or clients would like to know.
And then start the process all over again. Ask another question. Provide them with the results of that question and begin a dialogue with them.
Learn how to do this in Customer Attraction College. Click here for more info.
This third suggestion really works best when the second suggestion–developing a genuine, deeper level relationship with your customers or clients through a question and response format—is already being used.
And, by far, it is the most powerful of all 3 suggestions in terms of creating loyal ambassadors for your brand. It is simply reaching out personally.
To get an unexpected, personal phone call from the owner or senior management of a business asking to get to know you a little better so that the business can ultimately serve you better would just about make anyone thrilled they answered the phone.
The impact of this phone call can be enormous, only if there has been some sort of dialogue with your customers or clients already in place. Otherwise, this may backfire in a big way.
It all comes down to the natural development of human relations. When we first meet someone, we get to know them through a series of questions that are relatively surface level. Once we find some common ground and gain trust in each other, then the conversation can move to a much deeper level. The questions become more personal along with the answers. If some sort of dialogue (like suggestion #2 above) is already in place, then it wouldn’t be too much a surprise for you or a member of senior management to place a call to a selected few of your customers or clients. It would feel like a natural extension of conversation that has been going on through emails.
If, however, your business currently does not have a conversation going with your customers or clients, then a phone call from you or a senior team member might set off alarm bells rather than peals of surprise and delight. If trust hasn’t been established previously with your customers or clients through some sort of dialogue with your company, then a call out of the blue may backfire.
These 3 suggestions, whether employed together or separately, have the power to create deeper and more meaningful connections with your customers or clients. In turn, they support your business, help spread the word about your products and services and help make your business better able to serve the needs of both present and future customers or clients.
The great thing is these suggestions take very little effort and require just a bit of planning. But the results are tremendous and, sometimes very pleasantly, surprising.